Anne Jordan & Mitch Goldstein on Designing for Us&Them

Anne Jordan and husband Mitch Goldstein are designers based in Rochester, New York. Among their collaborative works is the book cover for Us&Thema novel about an Iranian-American family, exploring ideas of fragmented lives, family tensions, and migration. Here they detail their process for creating this amazing piece. 

We experimented with mirrors as an image-making material for this cover. We love how mirror fragments have the ability to capture different facets of something, yet show the whole at the same time. Mirrors allow us to see parts of the world in combination rather than in isolation. Persian mirror inlay artwork is famous and mirrors are obsessively present in Iranian culture. We began by exploring many ways of using mirrors to reflect typography and light.


Next, we focused on the color shifts and fragmented lines of light created by reflecting mirrors into each other. We built a three-dimensional construction of mirrors staring face to face. Here you can see Anne’s eyes peeking through the setup.


Then we shot hundreds of photos to let the perfect image reveal itself. We used mirrors, and nothing but mirrors, to create these intricate images. The mirrors are simply reflecting themselves and the natural light coming in the window of our studio. All of the lines and color are results of physical materials existing in the world. We are simply drawing with light. The phenomena of the physical world is incredible – we could never generate images like this from scratch in Photoshop.

The final cover is a play on reversals and reflections, reminiscent of Persian mosaic tile patterns. The delicate typography echoes the language of the mirrors. Shades of blue and green are evocative of the ocean separating a family across two continents. 

  Published by Stanford University Press in April 2017.

Published by Stanford University Press in April 2017.